Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Funeral Of Feminist Blogs

The blog Feministing is ceasing its operations, New York Times tells us, while also telling us that the heyday of feminist blogs is over.  It does look like that, of course, given the long list of sites which have stopped operations (or changed, over time, into something rather different and not very feminist):  Feministing, the Establishment, Broadly, the Hairpin, Xo Jane and on and on and on.  And the sites which remain have often become corporate ones:

...Jezebel is under new management, part of a stable of publications run by the hedge fund-controlled ownership group, G/O Media, that recently set off a staff exodus at the sports site Deadspin. Feminist media has been especially hard hit by the financial turbulence in the news industry.


The Frisky is still around (sort of), but it has lost its old identity under its new owner, Nebojsa Vujinovic, a Serbian music producer. Recent headlines on the site include “Justin Bieber Has a New Tattoo!” and “Meghan Markle and Adele Had a Secret Meeting!” That’s a long way from the mix of political and sharp lifestyle coverage that filled the welcome page before the sale.

The linked article suggests that these funeral feasts are because success eats its own parents:  Many of the writers who began those blogs are now working in mainstream media and many of the issues those blogs advanced are now included in the mainstream media.

That could be the case, sure.  But then it would also be true that those pipelines the feminist blogs once created to feed talented women into mainstream media are now ceasing operations. 

Other explanations* for the graveyard of feminist blogs are possible:  Feminism can be co-opted to serve other purposes**, whether political or commercial, and watered-down or obfuscated takes on feminism are now pretty common.

Or so I think. But then I am a dinosaur, of course, outdated, fossilized and all that.

This is very freeing.  Because I never totally focused my feminist analysis on popular culture or the general (sexist) social norms affecting young women, the demise of feminist blogs which did just that doesn't affect me directly (though of course I grieve their passing).  Pseudoscience about sex differences, evolutionary psychology, and women's global issues have never been topics which attracted lots of feminist blogs.  Writing on them has always been a solitary activity, suitable for the last dinosaur standing.  Or  for weird snake goddesses***.


*  Such as the difficulty of starting anything similar to a feminist blog today, what with a much more mature online environment where few niches are left unfilled. 

But mostly, and this is important, Twitter and Facebook have taken over from blogs in general, and from feminist blogs, in particular.  Blogs were used as places to chat with other people who shared similar interests (or who violently disagreed with those).  Today those chats can be had in many other places.

** Because feminist causes can still attract a fairly wide audience, commercial uses of feminism are not uncommon, and if other political causes can be linked to feminism that wide audience can be harnessed for all sorts of purposes having nothing to do with the goal of equal treatment and rights of men and women.

*** This doesn't mean that I will go on forever, especially in the current political and social climate where my type of feminist work is like fighting a simultaneous war on many fronts.